Hanahan senior lives out dream of becoming ESPN anchor

By Ava

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) Every day senior Derek Bannister walks into Hanahan High School with a smile on his face.

"Everybody knows and loves Derek Bannister. He's the kind of kid when you walk the hall at school everybody's saying 'Hello, Derek,' that kind of stuff," said History teacher Steve Childers.

He said what's obvious to everyone is Bannister's love of sports and his plans to become a sports broadcaster.

"He shows up at sporting events, you know, he's not just a fan, he's there to study," said Childers.

Childers said two days ago Bannister was sent on a once-in-a-lifetime, all-access tour of ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

"I don't know if there is anything higher than cloud nine. If there is, he's on it," said Childers.

"I was shocked because I didn't know how everything was going to get paid for and how I was going to get to go. They told me everything was good and just go and enjoy and learn, and after I hear that I was speechless. I couldn't believe it," said Bannister.{}

The entire trip from plane tickets to hotel accommodations was all paid for by Hanahan High School's students, teachers and parents.

Bannister's grandfather took video of him walking onto the set of his favorite program, "NFL Live."

"I got to actually sit at the 'NFL Live' studio right before they went on live. I got to meet Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth and Jason Taylor," said Bannister.{}

As Bannister walked past "the cage," a he was quick to point out his favorite team, the Clemson Tigers. {}{}

"On the plane ride back I knew this is what I want to do and this is what I want to shoot for and hopefully be there," said Bannister.

Bannister said he was excited to return to school and fill his classmates in on the things he saw and the people he met.

"They were actually proud of me and happy that I got the experience, and that's what I can say about the students here: they all support me," said Bannister. {}